All that being said. Forget all the long crazy methods, forget all the herbs and wine... just forget you saw those recipes. This soup is perfect just as it is. When you use great ingredients that can stand on their own, they don't need any help.
Here is the recipe!
French Onion Soup
4 Tbs of Butter (unsalted)
A few tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil (your preference)
4 to 6 medium to large onions. I use a mix of spanish/white/and sweet (Valida or Mayan)
1 quart chicken stock (stock not broth)
1 quart beef stock
Croutons (recipe follows)
Gruyere, Swiss, or provolone cheese (your choice)
In a large stock or soup pot, melt butter and oil together to coat bottom of pot. Melt on a medium low heat. The oil will keep the butter from burning. Using a mandolin or thinly slice by hand your onions so you get lots of nice rings! Start adding the onions as you slice to your pot and stir as you go. Once all the onions are in put in a giant pinch of salt.
Turn heat up to medium and let the onions slowly caramelize. You want to have a nice light caramelization... not a super dark one as you don't want your onions to taste like something you would put over ice cream!
Once lightly caramelized add your stock.
Bring it up to a simmer and let it go until reduced by half.
Add salt and pepper to taste. If you over reduce, add a little water.
Put the soup in your soup crocks, add your crouton and put your cheese on top. I often use a mix of swiss and provolone. Put under the broiler until all bubbly and melted and little brown spots form. Remove from broiler carefully, serve and enjoy.
I use a nice italian or french loaf, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with a little course kosher or sea salt and a pinch of garlic powder dusted all over and put in the broiler. Let it get lightly toasted and flip and let other side toast. Let the toast stand for a few minutes before putting on top of the soup. I often make the croutons early in the day or a few hours before so they get super hard and will keep some texture in the soup.
That is it folks. Make and enjoy. Delicious home made french onion soup, can be made in as little as 2 hours but I usually like to give it 4 hours for maximum flavor.